What is a Stroke? Mayo Clinic’s expert explains
Stroke is a medical crisis, and immediate treatment is essential. Early intervention can help reduce brain damage as well as other complications.
When the blood supply is cut off or reduced to a part of the cerebral cortex, brain tissue cannot receive oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
The good news is, stroke deaths in America are down significantly compared to the past. Stroke disability can be prevented with effective treatments.
Pay attention to when the symptoms started if you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke. Some treatments are more effective when administered soon after the stroke has begun.
Stroke symptoms include:
- Having trouble understanding and speaking. You might experience confusion or slurred words.
- Sudden numbness or paralysis of the arm, leg, or face. This usually affects only one side of your body. Try raising both arms simultaneously. You may have a stroke if you notice that one arm starts to fall. When you smile, your lips may also droop on one side.
- Trouble seeing in either one or both of your eyes. Your vision may become blurred, blackened or double in one eye or both.
- Headache. An intense headache that is sudden and severe, and may be accompanied with vomiting, dizziness, or altered consciousness may indicate a stroke.
- You might stumble or lose balance. You might also experience sudden dizziness, or lose your coordination.
When to visit a doctor
Seek medical attention immediately when you notice any stroke symptoms, even if the symptoms seem to appear and disappear. Do the following.
- Face. Tell the person to laugh. Is one side of your face drooping?
- Arms. Request that the person raise both arms. Is one arm pointing downward? Is one arm incapable of rising?
- Speak. Have the person repeat a simple sentence. Is the person’s speech slurred?
- Time. Call 911 or emergency medical assistance immediately if you notice any of the following signs.
Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to stop. Every minute counts. The longer an untreated stroke is left, the more brain damage and disability it can cause.
While you wait for emergency help, keep an eye on the person you suspect of having a stroke.
A stroke can be caused by a blocked blood vessel or a ruptured or leaked blood vessel. Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are temporary interruptions of blood flow in the brain that don’t result in lasting symptoms.
Ischemic strokeEnlarge image
This is the most common form of stroke. This occurs when the blood vessels in the brain become blocked or narrowed, resulting in a severe reduction of blood flow. The narrowing or blocking of blood vessels is caused by fatty deposits in blood vessels, or by blood clots and other debris which travel from the heart to the brain.
Initial research indicates that COVID-19 More research is needed to determine whether infection increases the risk of stroke.
A hemorrhagic attack occurs when a brain blood vessel ruptures or leaks. Many conditions can cause brain hemorrhages. Hemorrhagic Stroke can caused by:
- High blood pressure that is uncontrolled
- Blood Thinners (Anticoagulants) Overtreatment
- Aneurysms are bulges at weak points in the blood vessel wall.
- Trauma (such an accident in a vehicle)
- The presence of protein deposits in blood vessels can lead to a weakening of the vessel wall.
- Hemorrhage due to a sclerotic stroke
The rupture of a tangle of irregular thin-walled vessels is a less common cause of brain bleeding.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Transient ischemic attacks (TIA), also known as ministrokes, are a period of temporary symptoms that are similar to strokes. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) — sometimes known as a ministroke — is a temporary period of symptoms similar to those in a stroke. TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage. It doesn’t cause permanent damage. TIA This is due to a temporary drop in blood flow to a part of the cerebral cortex, which can last for as little as 5 minutes.
Even if you feel you have a, seek emergency medical care. TIA Because your symptoms improved. You can’t tell if you are having a stroke. TIA Based only on symptoms. If you have had a TIA It means that you might have a partially narrowed or blocked artery leading to your brain. A blocked or narrowed artery leading to the brain is a cause for concern. TIA Increases your risk of a stroke.
Stroke risk can increased by many factors. Stroke risk factors that can be treated include:
Lifestyle risk factors
- Being overweight or obese
- Drinking excessively or binge-drinking
- Drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine are illegal substances
Medical Risk Factors
- High blood pressure
- Smoking cigarettes or exposure to second-hand smoke
- High Cholesterol
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Heart disease can include heart failure, heart defects or heart infections, as well as irregular heart rhythms such atrial fibrillation.
- Family history of manipulate or heart attack
Other factors that are associated with an increased risk of stroke include
- Age – People over 55 years of age are at a greater risk for stroke.
- Race and ethnicity — African Americans, Hispanics and other races have a greater risk of stroke.
- Sex – The risk of stroke is higher for men than women. Women tend to be older than men when they suffer a stroke, and are more likely to succumb from it.
- Hormones – The use of hormones, such as estrogen in birth control pills and hormone therapy, increases the risk.
The severity of the disability depends on how long it takes for blood to flow back into the brain and which parts are affected. Complications include:
- Loss of muscle control or paralysis. This can affect one side or all of your muscles.
- Trouble talking or swallowing. An stroke can affect the control of muscles in your mouth and throat. This makes it difficult to speak clearly, eat, or swallow. You may also have problems with language. This includes difficulties in reading, writing, speaking, or understanding.
- Memory loss and thinking difficulties. Many stroke victims experience memory loss. Other people may experience difficulty with reasoning, understanding concepts, and making decisions.
- Emotional problems. Stroke victims may find it difficult to control their emotions or develop depression.
- Numbness. In the affected areas of the body, you may experience pain or tingling. If you lose feeling in your left arm due to a stroke, you might experience tingling in this arm.
- A change in the way people behave and their ability to care for themselves. Stroke victims may withdraw more. You may need to help them with daily chores and grooming.
The following is a list of precautions.
You can prevent strokes by knowing your stroke risks, adhering to your doctor’s advice and living a healthy life. These measures may help you prevent another stroke if you have had a stroke, or a transient ischemic event (TIA). You may also affected by the follow-up treatment you receive both in hospital and afterwards.
Stroke prevention strategies often overlap with strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease. Healthy lifestyle recommendations generally include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure): How to control it It is important to lower your manipulate risk. Lowering your blood pressure after a stroke can prevent a subsequent stroke. High blood pressure is often treat with medication and lifestyle changes.
- Reducing cholesterol and saturated fats in your diet. Consuming less saturated and trans fats and cholesterol may help reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications if you are unable to control your cholesterol with dietary changes.
- Stop smoking. Secondhand smoke increases stroke risk for both smokers and non-smokers. Smoking reduces stroke risk.
- Managing Diabetes. Losing weight, exercising and eating a healthy diet can help keep your blood glucose in a normal range. If lifestyle changes are not enough to manage your diabetes, then your doctor might prescribe diabetes medications.
- Maintaining healthy weight. Being obese contributes to stroke risk factors such as high blood-pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Alcohol consumption should limited. A heavy alcohol intake increases the risk for strokes, including ischemic and hemorrhagic. Alcohol can also interact with drugs that you are taking. Drinking small amounts of alcohol (one drink per day) can help to prevent an ischemic stroke.
- Avoiding illegal drugs Some street drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine are known risk factors.
You may have suffered an ischemic stroke, or a TIA Your doctor may prescribe medications that reduce the risk of another stroke. They include:
- Antiplatelet drugs. The cells that clot in blood are called platelets. These drugs reduce the ability of these cells to clot. Aspirin is the most common antiplatelet drug. You can get help from your doctor to determine the best dose for you.
After a TIA If you have had a minor stroke that was not life-threatening, your doctor will prescribe aspirin along with an antiplatelet drug like clopidogrel. If you are unable to take aspirin your doctor will prescribe clopidogrel.
- Anticoagulants. This drug reduces blood clotting. Heparin has a fast-acting effect and can used in hospitals for a short time.
Over a longer period of time, slower-acting warfarin can used (Jantoven). Warfarin, a powerful blood thinner, must taken exactly as prescribed and you should watch out for any side effects. Warfarin must monitored with regular blood tests.
There are several newer anticoagulants (blood-thinning drugs) that can used to prevent manipulate for people with a high risk. Dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban are some of the newer anticoagulants available. These medications are shorter-acting than warfarin, and don’t usually require blood tests or regular monitoring by your doctor. These drugs also have a lower bleeding risk compared to Warfarin.